Mar 1, 2012


by Mel Gardner

Fondue is a perfect idea for an easy dinner for two, or a small group. With everyone gathered around one pot, this melty dish really brings everyone together.

From the French word fondre meaning "to melt," fondue is served in a communal pot of melted cheese, chocolate or boiling oil. Using long stemmed forks or skewers, dip anything from bread to vegetables in cheese, marshmallows to fruit in chocolate, and cook meats or vegetables in the boiling oil. Appetizer, meal or dessert--you decide which fondue would fit your date plans best.

First you'll need a fondue pot, which is really just a pot with a small flame underneath. So if you don't want to buy one, we recommend making the fondue on the stove, pour it into a warmed bowl and place the bowl over heated water. If you do use a fondue pot or any kind of open flame, be careful, because even a small fire could ruin a good date. The fondue forks are also nice to have, but not necessary. Long skewers will do just fine.

Cheese: French bread, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, carrots, apple and sausage.

Chocolate: marshmallows, brownie chunks, angel food cake, strawberries, kiwi, banana, pound cake, and cheesecake.

Oil:  steak, chicken, shrimp, mushrooms, onions, and garlic.

Melt your date's heart with this fun fondue date. Check out our archives  for more Delicious Dating ideas.

Hot Air Popcorn Popper

Hot Air Popcorn Popper

When making your own popcorn there is one surprisingly simple solution - hot air!  Just pour popcorn kernels into the machine, plug it in and Voila! Perfectly popped kernels will fall from the spout, leaving virtually no un-popped kernels.

Since the hot air corn popper uses air, not oil, it makes for a healthy and low-calorie treat. Hot air popcorn is not only healthier, but cheaper than regular microwave popcorn. Plus, you get to decide your topping. From old-fashioned butter to parmesan, you decide how your popcorn tastes. 

This corn popping contraption may sound like your hair dryer, but it certainly makes popping corn easier and healthier then expected from such a tasty treat.

MIX! it up with these ingredient ideas.
  1. Butter: Salt to taste, then drizzle some real melted butter over the top.
  2. Cinnamon & Sugar: Spritz with butter spritzer, then sprinkle with 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and 1 Tbsp sugar.
  3. White Chocolate: Place popped corn in a tupperware container and sprinkle with 1/4 cup white chocolate chips. Cover with lid and microwave 10 seconds, then shake warmed popcorn to slightly melt the chips.
  4. Curry: 1 tsp curry powder, 3/4 tsp ground tumeric, 3/4 tsp ground ginger, pinch cayenne pepper.
  5. Pizza: 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese, 1 tsp ground dried oregano, 1/2 tsp dried tomato powder.
  6. Salt and Vinegar: 1/4 c salted malt vinegar, sea salt to taste
  7. Italian: 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese, 1 tsp ground dried oregano
  8. Cheddar Cheese: cheese and sea salt to taste.

Chicken Shawarma Sandwich

Chicken Shawarma Sandwich

Museum of Art Café


Sandwich served in a pita with tahini sauce and tomato Turkish salsa.

Part of the new menu at the MOA Café, the chicken shawarma sandwich brings the taste of the Middle East to Provo. Served in a homemade pita filled with shawarma seasoned chicken breast, fresh lettuce, crisp cucumbers, zesty tahini sauce and Turkish salsa, this sandwich is a unique look at Middle Eastern cuisine. Come down to the MOA Café to try our variety of  Middle Eastern dishes.


Cupcake Tin Craze

by Mel Gardner

50 Things you can do with a cupcake tin!

Cupcakes are everywhere. They're posted on your blogs, pinned on your Pinterest, selling in your mini malls and taunting your taste buds. These mouthwatering mini cakes have enveloped the cooking and craft universe. But the trend hasn't just brought cupcakes out of obscurity, but also the cupcake tin. What was once only used for molding cupcakes is now the latest organizer, mini food maker or toy.

Through ideas gathered from the internet and brainstorming in the studio, MIX! has come up with 50 different things you can do with a cupcake tin. MIX! up your food and craft ideas with this neo-cupcake trend.

Mini Foods
  1. Favorite Cupcake: Make a cupcake of course!
  2. Mini Chili Dinner: Put cornbread batter, chili and cheese in a muffin tin, bake and enjoy.
  3. Mini Lasagna: Place a small square of a lasagna noodle to cover the bottom of each cupcake mold; then, roll a lasagna noodle around the sides of each cup. Fill the center of the noodle with your meat/vegetable filling then sprinkle cheese on top. Bake and eat. Alternative: Use wonton wrappers to make mini layers instead of wrapping lasagna noodles.
  4. Mini Cheesecakes: Mix melted butter and crushed graham cracker to make crust. Press crust into the bottom of each cup (using cupcake liners will make this easier to take out after cooking). Fill the rest of the cup with your favorite cheesecake recipe. Bake and eat. Drizzle with fruit sauce, chocolate or caramel if desired.
  5. Eggs and Bacon: Cook pieces of bacon until brown but not crisp. Take piece of bacon and wrap around the edges of each cup. Put a small slice of bacon to cover the bottom. Crack one egg into each cup. Break yoke if desired. Add desired ingredients such as salt, pepper, cheese, or onion.  Cook in oven until egg is done. Enjoy!
  6. Mini Omelet: Cook sausage or bacon (or other meats), then cut into small pieces. In a bowl create an egg and milk mixture like you would for making omelets. Add meat, onions and any additional spices or vegetables to egg mix. Pour mixture into each muffin tin and top with cheese. Bake until eggs are cooked.
  7. Mini Pies: Using favorite pie recipes, bake mini individual pies for everyone.  Example: pumpkin, raspberry, key lime,  apple, etc.
  8. Mini Meatloaf: Instead of cooking your meat loaf as a loaf, try it as a meat cupcake for individual servings.
  9. Mini Crab Cakes: Using your favorite crab cake recipe and cook in a cupcake tin. Serve with lemon wedges or special sauce.
  10. Mini Brownies: Use your favorite brownie recipe and cook in cupcake tins. There are all sorts of decorative molds and the individual size is easier for sharing.    
  11. Mini Pizza: Take your favorite pizza bread recipe (or use generic unbaked crescent or dinner rolls) and top with favorite pizza toppings. Bake and eat!
  12. Mini Macaroni Casserole: Mix your favorite macaroni casserole ingredients in a bowl then scoop into cupcake tins and top with cheese, bake until cheese is melted.
  13. Brownie/Cookie: Create your favorite chocolate chip cookie and  brownie recipe. Then layer cookie and brownie in each cup and bake. You've got the best of both desserts in one dish!
  14. Freeze for Later: Pour your favorite soup into each of the cups and freeze. Put into a freezer safe bag and take one cube out as you need it for individual serving or take one cube in a thermos to take on the go. 
  15. Pizzokie: Cook your favorite chocolate chip cookie in the bottom of a cupcake tin. Then while it's still hot, add a scoop of ice cream and whip cream on top. Have everyone gather around and eat their own right out of the tin.
  16. Mini Quiche: Using your favorite quiche recipe cook it mini style in a cupcake tin.Organizer
  17. Jewelry: Avoid a tangled jewelry disaster by using your old cupcake tins for organization that can fit easily in a drawer.
  18. Office Supplies: Don't want your paper clips and pins flying around your desk? Put them in a cupcake tin.
  19. Small Tools: Store sharp objects such as nails, screws, and pins.   
  20. Pre-Gardening: Use the cupcake tin for organizing seeds before planting.
  21. Sewing Supplies: Needles, string and more can be easily organized with a cupcake tin.
  22. Junk Drawer: Find some way to organize those odds and ends floating around in the drawer.
  23. Painting: Use each cup as a palette for mixing and holding paint colors.
  24. Easter Eggs: Use each cup for the different Easter egg dyes.
For Kids
  1. Snack Time: Use each cup for a little snack to make eating fun for kids. Stick a few vegetables in there and once they eat all of them in the cup, they can have the treat cup.
  2. Finger Painting: Pour different paints into each cup and let the kids go wild with finger paints.
  3. Toss Game: Make little rice/bean filled sacks for tossing. Then write point values for each cupcake cup. Have the kids stand behind a line and toss their sacks to win points.
  4. Advent Calendar: Cover each hole with a large flat magnet with Christmas themed pictures and numbers for each day of the month. Put candies or quotes inside for each day.
  5. Dinosaur Fun: Put little plastic toys in the cupcake tin with water and freeze. Ta da! It's the ice age!
  6. Mini Garden: Using some dirt, seed, water and some love; create a mini garden. Or use each cup for a plant science project.
  7. Homemade Lunchables: Cut slices of cheese and place in one cup, then slice the same amount of lunch meat and place in another cup. Place enough crackers for one piece of cheese and one piece of lunch meat in its own cup. Fill the rest of the cups with a healthy snack, dessert and drink in a paper cup. Let your child make his own lunch from each of the sections.  
  8. Alphabet Sorting: When kids are learning their letters, use scrabble letters and have them sort each letter into the correct cupcake tin.
  9. Color Sorting: Put pieces of different colored paper at the bottom of the cupcake tins. Then let the child sort through little things like buttons and paper clips and put them in the cup with the correlating color.
Perfect Mold
  1. Cookie Cups: Flip the tin upside down and cover each cup with foil/parchment paper, then cover with cookie dough and bake. It'll make perfectly formed cups for ice cream.
  2. Chocolate Cups: Flip the tin upside down and cover with foil/parchment paper. Cool the tin in the freezer. Then using the chocolate topping that instantly forms a hard shell around ice cream, pour around each cup then freeze until hard. Remove from mold and eat with ice cream or pudding. Alternative: You can also try melted chocolate chips, but the cooling time will take longer.
  3. Creative Crayon: Take your old crayon ends and melt together in the cupcake tin. You'll have your own large multi-colored round crayons. You may want to use parchment paper for easy removal from tins.
  4. Soap Mold: Make your own organic soup and use your cupcake tin for the mold.
  5. Mini Tortilla Bowls: Take small yellow corn tortillas, microwave for 1 minute, then spray each side of tortilla with cooking spray. Turn your cupcake tin upside down and center the tortilla in the space between 4 cupcake cups, creating a bowl.  Bake until crispy, but not burnt. Fill with taco ingredients and enjoy.
  6. Lego cake: Bake one regular 9 x 13 pan cake, then bake one tin of cupcakes. Place cupcakes upside down on the cake in the form of a Lego piece then frost the whole thing in an appropriate Lego color.  
  7. Snowball maker: For an easy perfect-throwing snowball, take some snow and shove into your mold. Flip over snowball into your hand and chuck at nearest target.
  8. Perfect Circles: Dip the bottom of your cupcake tin in paint and stamp where desired, creating a perfectly spaced and formed circle pattern for wall decorations or crafts.
  9. Flavored Ice Cubes: Slice lemons, limes and berries then place in the cupcake tin. Add water and freeze. Use ice cubes when serving punch so the flavor will slowly melt into the punch.
  10. Candles: Make your own candles with the regular cupcake mold or try other cupcake pan designs.
  11. Jello: of course.
  12. Pineapple Flower: Shave the sides and cut off the stem of the pineapple. Cut very thin slices through the whole pineapple including the middle stem, creating a circle. Set thin slices into the cups of  the cupcake tin and bake at a low temperature until dry and edges are brown. Use as a garnish.  
  1. Armor: Use one cupcake tin for the breast plate and one for the back. Drill holes in the tops and connect over the shoulders with string. Perfect armor for a snowball or water balloon fight.
  2. Makeshift Shower: Drill little holes in the bottom of each cup. Place water hose above cupcake tin and voila! It's a shower. 
  3. Mancala: Create your own game of Mancala (Asian/African chess game). You can find game play and rules online.
  4. Floral Arrangements: Use an older antique-looking cupcake tin for making new and creative floral arrangements. 
  5. Easter Egg Holder: Use a mini cupcake tin to display your Easter eggs or to hold them while the dye dries.

Coca-Cola is Calling

by Mel Gardner

Standing in line at the Creamery on Ninth, hands full, you go over the list again. Milk, cereal, ramen, pop-tarts and a carton of bishop's bash - well, that wasn't originally on the list. You finally make it up to the register and dump your load, but right as your ready to pay, the register's phone rings. They talk for a moment then hand the phone to you. Who could it possibly be? Is this a prank? Nope, It's Coca-Cola calling.

Throughout the rest of March, many unsuspecting customers shopping at the CONE could get a call from Coca-Cola to award them prizes such as groceries, t-shirts, hats, electronics or Coca-Cola products. The calls are made randomly throughout the day and with multiple prizes given away per day, many have already received grand prizes.

Amanda Hall, a Provo resident, came into the CONE to buy milk with her kids when Coca-Cola called her.

"I though it was weird that the cashier was handing me the phone," Hall said. "Then the other person on the line said I had won a BYU T-shirt. It was awesome!"
Jason Carter, manager of the Creamery on Ninth, has found the campaign both fun and successful.

"It's been pretty fun," Jason Carter, manager of the Creamery on Ninth, said. "There have been a lot of winners, but it's been even more fun for the employees."
The campaign has caused a lot of excitement among the CONE staff. Some of the Creamery employees have heighted the experience by creating and performing a Coca-Cola is Calling rap and taking pictures of every winner.

Maddie Ellsworth, a cashier at the CONE and BYU student from Salt Lake City, Utah, used popular songs as a base for some of the Cola-Cola is Calling songs she and her co-workers sang for some winners.

"It's been so much fun," Ellsworth said. "I love how confused they are when we hand them the phone. It's so funny to see their emotions. Some people get really excited about winning."   

The Coca-Cola will end their calls beginning March 30th. Will you get the next call? You might, if you shop happy at the CONE.

MOA Cafe Middle Eastern Menu

by Mel Gardner

Museum of Art Café "crosses bridges" with new middle eastern menu for Islamic art exhibit

The Museum of Art Café introduces its new Middle Eastern menu in collaboration with the new Islamic art exhibit at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art.

The new exhibit titled "Beauty and Belief: Crossing Bridges with the Arts of Islamic Culture" strives to create dialogue, build bridges and bring different cultures together. In response to this cause, the MOA Café created an authentic Middle Eastern menu to introduce the BYU community to the delicious side of culture, allowing patrons visiting the exhibit to indulge in the artistry and flavors of middle eastern life.

"We are very excited to have the MOA Café offer authentic cuisine during the exhibition," Yvette Arts, assistant to the dean for the College of Fine Arts and Communications said. "It adds a nice touch to the experience for our visitors."

Chefs with BYU Dining including Executive Chef John McDonald spent several weeks researching Turkish, Lebanese and other Middle Eastern flavors to find the right dishes to introduce to the BYU community.

"We did a lot of testing of ingredients to come up with the direction we decided to go," Chef McDonald said. "We especially did a lot of different testing to come up with our pita bread."

Dishes on the menu include a shawarma chicken platter or sandwich, Turkish salad with chicken, and yalanji (stuffed grape leaves).  Side dishes such as hummus, tabbouleh (Arab salad), basmati rice and pita bread compliment the meal. The MOA Café has even made some desserts including semolina cake (honey cake) and baklava (flaky pastry). 

"The flavors of the Middle East are very fresh and vibrant flavors," he said."The menu should be a nice addition to the menu for the season."

The MOA Café will serve the Middle Eastern menu in addition to its regular dishes beginning Feb. 21 until the end of winter semester. The MOA Café is closed during spring and summer semesters and will reopen for fall semester.

"Beauty and Belief" opens Feb. 24 and ends Sept. 29. The exhibition includes more than 250 works of art from more than 40 lenders in ten countries and will be displayed in the galleries on the main level of the museum. For more information about the exhibit visit

Garbage Bag Kite

Garbage Bag Kite

  • Two wooden dowels
  • Scissors
  • Garbage bag
  • Duct tape
  • Ribbons and string
  • Markers/decoration
  1. Take both wooden dowels and cross them. Cut horizontal dowel to make desirable kite shape. Tie the two dowels together by wrapping with string and tying it off. Make sure all angles are as perpendicular as possible.

  2. Take your garbage bag and decorate with markers, stickers or light paint. MIX! it up with crazy designs or collages.

  3. Set kite frame on top of the garbage bag, decorated side face down. Top of kite should be the closed part of the garbage bag. Cut vertical dowel bottom to about 2 inches above the bottom of the garbage bag. The entire kite frame should fit inside the edges of the garbage bag.

  4. Use duct tape to tape around the ends of each dowel to prevent the sharp edges from ripping your kite. Make sure you have the dowels evenly spaced and close to the top as possible. Then tape each dowel end to the garbage bag.

  5. Neatly fold top two corners of garbage bag towards middle of kite frame. Tape in place, covering the whole side. Then fold the bottom of your garbage bag vertically without folding the bottom corners towards the middle of the frame (although depending on your design you may do so).

  6. Tie a long kite string on to the middle of the crossing dowels and add some ribbon to the bottom of the kite for weight and decoration.

  7. Go fly your kite!

Check out other useful kitchen crafts in our archives.

Growing Herbs Indoors

How to Grow Your Own Indoor Herb Garden
There's no substitute for fresh herbs in that special dish you love to make, but fresh herbs are hard to get during winter seasons and expensive to boot. Take a hint from MIX! and grow your own indoor herb garden.

Hint #1: Choose your herbs - Choose herbs that you're most likely to use, but if you're looking to expand your pallet, try something new. Here are the most common herbs:

Basil is a member of the mint family. It has a strong sweet flavor and is used in a lot of Italian and Southeast Asian cuisines. 

Mint has a warm sweet flavor with a cool after taste and has more uses than culinary, such as teas for stomach pain.

Oregano has a warm and bitter taste, but is actually more flavorful when dried. Oregano is used in Italian-American and Mediterranean cuisine.

Parsley has a fresh crisp taste used in many European dishes as well as Middle Eastern cuisine. Flat-leafed parsley is more desirable for cooking while curly leaf parsley is used more as garnish.

Rosemary is highly aromatic. It looks similar to pine needles with a woody flavor used commonly for stuffings, meats and Mediterranean cuisine.

Sage has a soft grayish green color, but a strong peppery flavor. It is used in flavoring fatty meats and sauces, but because of its strong flavor it should be used sparingly.

Thyme has a stick-like stem with small leaves sprouts that produce an earthy flavor best used with meats, soups and eggs. Thyme is a main ingredient in French cuisine.

Hint #2: Choose your planter - Most importantly your pot should have drainage holes in the bottom. Besides that, you choose whether you want to plant in individual containers or save space by planting several herbs in one pot. Some herbs may grow better together than others; for example, mint grows much like a weed and should be placed in a separate pot.

Hint #3: Light - During a sunless winter your herbs will need all the light they can get. Otherwise just find a nice sunny spot for the warmer seasons.

Hint: #4: Water - Don't overwater; check soil for dryness before watering. Water whenever leaves look droopy. If leaves turn yellow, that is a sign of over watering.

Hint #5: Clipping/Trimming - Your herbs will need regular clipping to prevent flowering and foster growth. Also when clipping off leaves for cooking, pick from the stems or leaves on the top.

Check out more Helpful Hints in our archives.

Spaghetti Squash with Brown Butter & Herbs

Spaghetti Squash with Brown Butter & Herbs
                                                                       8 servings
1 Ea.        Spaghetti Squash
3 Ea.        Garlic Cloves Minced
1 T.           Real Salt
2 tsp.       Ground Pepper
1 T.           Olive Oil
1 T.           Basil, Fresh Minced
1 T.           Minced Parsley
1 tsp.        Minced Fresh Thyme
1/2 stick    Butter

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Split Spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds of the squash.
3. Rub the inside of the squash with minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
4. Wrap the squash with aluminum foil and place onto sheet pan and bake 40 to 50 minutes or until soft to the touch and the squash just separates with a  fork.
5. Remove from oven, and place in coldest location possible for at least 20 minutes, before separating from skin.
6. Use a fork to scoop and separate squash strands, add brown butter and herbs at this point.
7. Top with Grated Parmesan

Brown Butter
1. Over medium heat add butter to a skillet and cook until toffee brown.  Allow to cool and serve over the cooked spaghetti squash.